Mr Izama; an Exercise in Self Delusion
The Monitor (Kampala)
OPINION 10 November 2007
By K. David Mafabi
Last Wednesday, Mr Angelo Izama took on my rebuttal of his earlier article titled “Museveni: The African leader the US loves to hate”. I really do not want to get into a ping pong session with Mr Izama, but cannot at the same time let his observations go without appropriate comment.
First things first, and on a light note. In my article, I never wrote about “opposition writers”. I instead utilised a creation and usage of mine which I introduced in these pages several months ago namely, “oppositionists”. I then defined “oppositionists” as those members of our elite who are social commentators or analysts on various subjects, and strongly disclaim being politicians.
More seriously, Mr Izama should look again at his original article. His focal point was clearly not challenges of US policy in Africa, with President Yoweri Museveni being some incidental mention. It was the other way round. The undeclared but ultimately clear intention was to focus on an area which is the pet subject of the opposition: how the “international community” can help force Mr Museveni to “clean house”.The “oppositionists” are supposedly scientific, objective, impartial and non-partisan. I averred then as I do today, that in reality they are as partisan as everybody else, and actually take political sides. I listed the main culprits as being academic intellectuals, journalists, and so-called civil society people from NGOs, CBOs, etc. I declared then that my good friend Andrew Mwenda was an “oppositionist”! I have now added my other friend Angelo Izama, to the list!
But, the most creative (and disturbing) part of Mr Izama’s latest piece, is his invention of a “doctrine of regime maintenance”, which he alternates with the “policy of regime survival”. Now, this was unfortunate because there is obviously no such doctrine or policy in existence.
In Mr Izama’s view, “delivering public goods and meeting governance challenges” has suffered, as a consequence of “policies weighed on the side of regime change”. Tragically, he then actually declares that people in central and south-west have enjoyed relative personal security and prosperity for supporting the government, while those in the north and west who “resisted the regime have fared worse”!
Put more bluntly, Mr Izama is actually saying that delivery of public goods by government depends on whether a particular part of the country supports the government or not. He is actually saying that the northern and eastern parts of the country have been punished – as a consequence of denying support to the NRM government!
But, what is “doctrine”, the phrase used by Mr Izama? “Doctrine”, could refer to a body of teachings or instructions, taught principles or positions, the body of teachings in a branch of knowledge or belief system.
“Doctrine” again, could refer to religious dogma as proclaimed by a church, as it could to common law traditions established through a history of past decisions such as the doctrine of self-defence. In warfare, the term would apply to the concept of an established procedure to a complex operation in warfare. In other words, Mr Izama is incredibly suggesting that the government of Uganda holds deliberate impoverishment of parts of the country sacrosanct: as part of a system of teachings or beliefs; as dogma; as established procedure!
In presenting this markedly incredible construct, Mr Izama unfortunately discourages further discussion of his arguments on any other merit. Beyond the subjective, our Ugandan and African intelligentsia has refused to engage with the structural trans-regime issues that make conflict chronic in the post colonial African state.
It has refused to engage with the root causes of a deep seated and structural poverty, and with why the post colonial project of consolidating national integration in an extremely fractious society is fraught with difficulty.
They then take the easy and self-serving route of attributing perceived failures or weaknesses to “mismanagement of governance”. Their greatest disservice to our people’s continuing struggles for complete liberation however, is to seek to stifle the search for alternative paradigms out of our imposed disadvantages, pointing us in the direction of the “international community” for solutions – an exercise in self delusion.
Mr Mafabi is the private secretary to the President for political affairs